Tired of feeling like just another number at your local bank? Well, if you live in British Columbia, there may be a better banking option for you. Westminster Savings Credit Union (WSCU) is changing the way people bank while giving back to the community that they serve.
RewardsExpert recently had the opportunity to speak with Apoorv Dwivedi, Director of Marketing and Channel Management, about the many benefits WSCU has to offer.
A History of Innovation and Service
Westminster Savings Credit Union was incorporated in October 1944 with the mission of providing its Canadian members the financial services they needed while empowering them to achieve their financial goals.
When the small bank started over 70 years ago, “It had only $75 in assets, 18 members and one physical branch,” explained Dwivedi.
It has grown considerably over the decades and now proudly serves 67,000 customers at 15 different branch locations, while managing $4 billion in assets. The banking institution serves not only individual community members, but also has commercial banking, wealth management and leasing divisions.
Dwivedi explained that the bank has been a leader in innovation and has always been most interested in keeping their members informed. “In 1989, the bank introduced Home Banker, an innovative system that lets people check account balances, transfer funds and receive current mortgage and loan rates by punching a personal code on a touch tone phone.” The credit union was among the first in Canada to introduce this convenient 24-hour service to its members.
Nearly two decades later, WSCU has continued their industry leading role by being the first credit union in Canada to introduce mobile banking.
Giving Back to the Community
With a focus on community and their members, WSCU has created and participated in several efforts to better the community and help educate people about how to reach their financial goals. “In 1992, we launched our charitable foundation with $250,000 in seed money,” he explained. This foundation now has $9 million in assets.
In 2011, they continued their mission to help the surrounding community by introducing a new community investment program, the Project Better Balance. This program has contributed more than $3.8 million in financial assistance to local organizations since its creation in 1992. All money comes from the credit union, and the income earned on this capital helps fund a variety of donations to numerous charitable organizations each year.
WSCU currently donates over $500,000 each year in sponsorships and grants to organizations that provide arts and active living opportunities in their communities. The grants support programming that promotes hands-on engagement with the arts, including exposure and access to arts performances, exhibitions and education.
They also support projects and programs which build community and promote social connectedness, and those that enable and encourage recreational activity and inclusivity for individuals with barriers to participation. A limited number of corporate sponsorships are also offered each year that support community events, programs and activities that promote engagement with the arts.
Products and Services Offered
To become a member of WSCU, you must meet a few simple eligibility requirements. Westminster Savings Credit Union and their financial planning division primarily serve residents of BC, specifically in the communities of Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Surrey and White Rock.
“As a local credit union focused on providing the most value for our members, Westminster Savings strives to offer its members competitive rates for all of its products. Our fees are generally lower than major banks and competitive among credit unions,” he added.
The bank offers tons of products and services for both individuals as well as businesses.
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- Online banking
- Safety deposit boxes
- Investment options, such as term deposits, retirement planning, investment options and tax-free savings accounts
- Mortgage and other loan services
- Lines of credit
- Business accounts
- Credit cards
- Merchant services
- Lending and financing
- Payroll services
- EFT, Electronic tax payments, bill pay and foreign currency options
What about bonus rewards, you ask? Don’t worry, WSCU has plenty to offer its members in this department. The Westminster Savings Desjardins VISA credit cards allow members to earn BONUSDOLLARS, which are very flexible and can be used for travel. Depending on which specific credit card they have, members can redeem their BONUSDOLLARS for:
- Westminster Savings financial products or services, such as RRSPs
- Merchandise and gift certificates available from the BONUSDOLLARS Rewards Catalogue
- Airfare and travel packages
There are no blackout times or restrictions on the airlines you use. Customers can redeem their rewards through an online portal. After the purchase is made, the customer goes into the portal to use their BONUSDOLLARS as a credit against the purchase.
Aside from the BONUSDOLLARS, WSCU has additional benefits as well. “We provide local knowledge and decision making, which is something that most large banks cannot offer,” he said. “We aim to keep our rates and fees competitive for members. We are able to do this because any profits do not go to shareholders but instead get reinvested back into the credit union, enabling us to enhance our products and services for the benefit of our members.”
To learn more about WSCU or to apply for membership, visit www.wscu.com.